Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Walter Raleigh, fully Sir Walter Raleigh

English Courtier, Navigator, Early American Colonizer, Aristocrat, Writer, Poet, Spy and Explorer

"A flatterer is said to be a beast that biteth smiling. But it is hard to know them from friends, they are so obsequious and full of protestations; for as a wolf resembles a dog, so doth a flatterer a friend."

"Borrowing is the canker and death of every man's estate."

"Eat slowly; only men in rags and gluttons old in sin mistake themselves for carpet-bags and tumble victuals in."

"Hatreds are the cinders of affection."

"If any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou hast to spare; if he press thee further, he is not thy friend at all, for friendship rather chooseth harm to find itself than offereth it. If thou be bound for a stranger, thou art a fool; if for a merchant, thou puttest thy estate to learn to swim."

"The gain of lying is nothing else but not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we say the truth."

"Take special care for that thou delight not in wine; for there never was any man who came to honor, or preferment that loved it; for it transformeth a man into a beast, decayeth health, poisoneth the breath, destroyeth natural heat, brings a man’s stomach to an artificial heat, deformeth the face, rotteth the teeth, and to conclude, maketh a man contemptible, soon old, and despised of all wise and worth men; hated in thy servants, in thyself, and companions; for it is a bewitching and infectious vice."

"It is observed in the course of worldly things that men’s fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than by their virtues; and more men’s fortunes overthrown thereby than by vices."

"Speaking much is a sign of vanity; for he that is lavish in words is a niggard in deed."

"The mind hath not reason to remember that passions ought to be her vassals, not her masters."

"Trust few men; above all, keep your follies to yourself."

"The necessity of war, which among human actions is the most lawless, hath some kind of affinity with the necessity of war."

"It would be an unspeakable advantage, both to the public and private, if men would consider that great truth, that no man is wise or safe, but he that is honest."

"It is not truth, but opinion, that can travel the world without a passport."

"Love needs no teaching."

"What thou givest after thy death, remember that thou givest it to a stranger, and most times to an enemy; for he that shall marry thy wife will despise thee, thy memory and thine, and shall possess the quiet of thy labors, the fruit which thou hast planted, enjoy thy love, and spend with joy and ease what thou hast spared and gotten with care and travail."

"A person must first govern themself ere they be fit to govern a family, and his family ere they be fit to bear the government of the commonwealth."

"Sorrows draw not the dead to life, but the living to death."

"What is our life? A play of passion. Our mirth the music of division. Our mother's wombs the tyring houses be, Where we are drest for this short Comedy. Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is, That sits and marks still who doth act amiss, Our graves that hide us from the searching sun, Are like drawn curtains when the play is done. Thus march we playing to our latest rest, Only we die in earnest, that's no jest.”"

"A beggar that is dumb, you know, May challenge double pity. Abused mortals! did you know Where joy, heart’s-ease, and comforts grow; You’d scorn proud towers, And seek them in these bowers, Where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake, But blustering care could never tempest make, Nor murmurs e’er come nigh us, Saving of fountains that glide by us. Cowards fear to die; but courage stout, Rather than live in snuff, will be put out. Even such is time, that takes on trust Our youth, our joys, our all we have, And pays us but with age and dust, Who in the dark and silent grave, When we have wandered all our ways, Shuts up the story of our days! But from this earth, this grave, this dust, My God shall raise me up, I trust! Fain would I but I dare not; I dare, and yet I may not; I may, although I care not for pleasure when I play not. Go, Soul, the Body’s guest, Upon a thankless errand; Fear not to touch the best, The truth shall be thy warrant. Go, since I needs must die, And give them all the lie. No mortal thing can bear so high a price, But that with mortal thing it may be bought. Shall I, like an hermit, dwell On a rock or in a cell? Yet stab at thee who will, No stab the soul can kill!"

"Our taste must always be, more or less, the victim of our limitations, but we should beware of glorying in it, and, above all, we should beware of mistaking the aversions of timidity and sensibility for critical judgments."

"Above all things, be not made an ass to carry the burdens of other men if any friend desire thee to be his surety, give him a part of what thou has to spare if he presses thee further, he is not thy friend at all."

"According to Solomon, life and death are in the power of the tongue; and as Euripides truly affirmeth, every unbridled tongue in the end shall find itself unfortunate; for in all that ever I observed in the course of worldly things, I ever found that men's fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than by their virtues, and more men's fortunes overthrown thereby, also, than by their vices."

"Abused mortals! did you know where joy, heart's-ease, and comforts grow; you'd scorn proud towers, and seek them in these bowers, where winds sometimes our woods perhaps may shake, but blustering care could never tempest make, nor murmurs e'er come nigh us, saving of fountains that glide by us."

"A professional man of letters, especially if he is much at war with unscrupulous enenemies, is naturally jealous of his privacy... so it was, I think, with Dryden."

"All histories do shew, and wise politicians do hold it necessary that, for the well-governing of every Commonweal, it behoveth man to presuppose that all men are evil, and will declare themselves so to be when occasion is offered."

"All those school-men, though they were exceeding witty, yet better teach all their followers to shift, than to resolve by their distinctions."

"And be sure of this, thou shalt never find a friend in thy young years whose conditions and qualities will please thee after thou comest to more discretion and judgment; and then all thou givest is lost, and all wherein thou shalt trust such a one will be discovered."

"All men are evil and will declare themselves to be so when occasion is offered."

"All, or the greatest part of men that have aspired to riches or power, have attained thereunto either by force or fraud, and what they have by craft or cruelty gained, to cover the foulness of their fact, they call purchase, as a name more honest. Howsoever, he that for want of will or wit useth not those means, must rest in servitude and poverty."

"Be advised what thou dost discourse of, and what thou maintainest whether touching religion, state, or vanity; for if thou err in the first, thou shalt be accounted profane; if in the second, dangerous; if in the third, indiscreet and foolish."

"Because all men are apt to flatter themselves, to entertain the addition of other men's praises is most perilous."

"As all those things which are most mellifluous are soonest changed into choler and bitterness, so are our vanities and pleasures converted into the bitterest sorrows."

"Bestow thy youth so that thou mayest have comfort to remember it when it hath forsaken thee, and not sigh and grieve at the account thereof. While thou art young thou wilt think it will never have an end; but the longest day hath its evening, and thou shalt enjoy it but once; it never turns again; use it therefore as the spring-time, which soon departeth, and wherein thou oughtest to plant and sow all provisions for a long and happy life."

"Before the invention of laws, private affections in supreme rulers made their own fancies both their treasurers and hangmen, weighing in this balance good and evil."

"Better were it to be unborn than to be ill bred."

"Better it were not to live than to live a coward."

"Brennus told the Roman embassadors that prevalent arms were as good as any title."

"But it is hard to know them from friends, they are so obsequious and full of protestations; for a wolf resembles a dog, so doth a flatterer a friend."

"But Love is a durable fire in the mind ever burning never sick, never old, never dead from itself, never turning."

"By how much the more we are accompanied with plenty, by so much the more greedily is our end desired, whom when time had made unsociable to others we become a burden to ourselves."

"But in vain she did conjure him, to depart her presence so, having a thousand tongues t' allure him and but one to bid him go. When lips invite, and eyes delight, and cheeks as fresh as rose in June, persuade delay,-- What boots to say forego me now, come to me soon."

"Concerning fate or destiny, the opinions of those learned men that have written thereof may be safely received had they not thereunto annexed and fastened an inevitable necessity, and made it more general and universally powerful than it is."

"Covetous ambition, thinking all too little which presently it hath, supposeth itself to stand in need of that which it hath not."

"Cowards [may] fear to die; but courage stout, rather than live in snuff, will be put out. On the snuff of a candle the night before he died."

"Corrupt seeds bring forth corrupt plants."

"Divines do rightly infer from the sixth commandment, that scandalizing one's neighbor with false and malicious reports, whereby I vex his spirit, and consequently impair his healthy is a degree of murder."

"Divine is Love and scorneth worldly pelf, and can be bought with nothing but with self."

"Death, which hateth and destroyeth a man, is believed; God, which hath made him and loves him, is always deferred."

"Even such is time, that takes in trust our youth, our joys, our all we have, and pays us but with age and dust; who in the dark and silent grave, when we have wandered all our ways, shuts up the story of our days. But from this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up, I trust! [Written the night before his death. Found in his Bible in the Gate-house at Westminster]"